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Should you cut back roses in autumn?

After reading a previous article about roses, a reader asked a follow-up question: “Hello! I was always told to cut back rose bushes in the fall. That’s wrong?” Here is the response from Bonnie Vitale, president of the Western New York Rose Society: Save the hard pruning for spring. In the fall, cut off any broken stems. Some gardeners like to cut their rose bushes down to a height of 18-24 inches in the fall to prevent wind and snow…

yarn marking a particular plant

Quick tip on marking one plant in a bunch of similar plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s easy to designate a patch of plants– there are many kinds of plant markers you can buy or make. But what if you want to remember where one particular plant is in that bunch? I have columbine with yellow flowers as well as columbine with flowers that are yellow with a bit of red in them. I’d like to save the seeds from the yellow-with-red variety. Of course, now that the seeds have developed, the…

Arbor Day poster 2019

Artwork sought for two Arbor Day poster contests

Contests for artwork for two Arbor Day posters are being held by the Urban and Community Forestry program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). One contest is for all members of the public and the other is for fifth-grade students. Both contests aim to promote the value of trees in the environment and New Yorkers’ lives. Contest winners will have their artwork replicated as either the 2020 New York State Arbor Day Original Artwork Poster or…

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daffodil hyacinth tulips and narcissus

Plant bulbs in fall for spring blooms

by Connie Oswald Stofko Every spring I hear of someone who wants to plant tulips. If you want tulips, you can’t wait until spring! This is the time to plant tulip bulbs. The same goes for crocuses, daffodils or narcissus, hyacinths and allium. This the time of year when garden centers generally have spring bulbs available, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. He recommends getting them planted right away; they have a rather short shelf life. If…

goat's beard

Try goat’s beard, a bold native plant, plus other tips from Master Gardeners

If you want a large, dramatic plant with showy flowers that also attracts lots of pollinators, go for goat’s beard. That’s the suggestion from Lyn Chimera in September’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus), is hardy in zones 6-8, but needs moist shade in zones 7 and 8. It can get seven feet tall and four feet wide, so make sure you have enough room….

deer eating in winter

My new talk ‘Oh, Deer!’ helps you protect your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko One of the things that gets gardeners in Western New York riled up is deer. These hungry critters can wreak havoc in a garden. There’s no magic solution to keep deer from eating your plants, but there are things you can do that might help. Unfortunately, even if you find something to keep the deer away for awhile, the deer might get used to that deterrent. Then you have to try something else. The good news…

green tomatoes

How to ripen green tomatoes before frost or late blight damages them

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this question from a reader, and it’s probably something that will help other gardeners, too. My tomatoes have just started to ripen. If I pick them totally green, before they get late blight, will they ripen in a bushel basket? Paula You can pick green tomatoes and get them to ripen with flavor and color similar to what you would have gotten if they were ripened in the field, according to this article from…

anemone September Charm In Amherst NY

Tips for creating a great autumn garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko As we move into autumn, how is your garden doing? Is it still interesting? If not, take steps now to have a better autumn garden next year. Get inspiration from some past articles: 4 big tips for creating a garden with year-round interest Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden It’s autumn, and this Amherst garden is still blooming!…

Botanical Gardens project produces vegetables for ‘food desert’

An outdoor Eco Garden installed this spring at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens has produced a large harvest of fresh vegetables and herbs that are donated to a local organization, Gerard Place. The Eco Garden is environmentally friendly and produces nutritional food, free of pesticides. It uses composting and vermiculture (composting using worms) as well as rain barrels. So far this season, 180 pounds of fresh vegetables and herbs have been donated from the Eco Garden to Gerard…

mulch volcano around tree

Danger: mulch volcanoes kill trees!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Even if you’ve never heard of mulch volcanoes, you’ve seen them. They’re those neat, cone-shaped piles of mulch at the base of trees. They’re kind of pretty. But like a real volcano, a mulch volcano is dangerous — it can slowly kill your tree. Nobody seems to know how this trend started. The trend continues, I guess, because people copy their neighbors. And then the mulch volcanoes seem to be everywhere. If everybody is doing it,…

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